3 Benefits of Using Color by Code in Literacy Centers

Color by code activities are great for all types of learning but can be especially helpful in literacy centers. Let's explore the benefits of color by code activities in this blog post.

If you’ve been around here a while, I’m sure you’ve noticed I love color by code activities. Color by code is SUCH a great tool to engage little learners and encourage literacy. Whether you’re a homeschooling family or a classroom teacher, color by code can add so much to your literacy activities. If you’re looking for new ways to shake up your literacy centers, you’re in luck! Today I’m sharing 3 benefits of using color by code in literacy centers and how to get started!

Color by code activities are great for all types of learning but can be especially helpful in literacy centers. Let's explore the benefits of color by code activities in this blog post.

First Off, What is Color by Code?

If you’re brand new to color by code, let me give you all the details! My color-by-code worksheets are a no-prep activity designed to help students practice a variety of skills in a fun way. They come in a variety of fun, seasonal themes to help capture student interest and they cover SO many skills!

One of the benefits of Color by code activities is that they help your students practice key skills in literacy in a fun and creative way they will love.

My pre-made color by code activities typically focus on letters, sight words, numbers, and number sense.

The idea behind them is that children will solve a problem, or identify letters or numbers, and then color in that piece of the picture according to the code. When all the spaces are colored in, a picture is revealed.

This allows students to practice a skill or concept over and over again, without it feeling monotonous.

Students are EXCITED to participate in these activities since each page has a fun new picture aligned to a specific theme. The themes I use cover everything from seasons to holidays, as well as fun topics like pets, dinosaurs, and more!

Editable Options

Perhaps the BEST thing about my color by code worksheets though, is that they’re editable! This means you fill each worksheet with whatever skill your students are focusing on. For example, when it comes to your literacy centers, use the editable options to target CVC words, vocabulary words, or new phonics rules. The editable pages make it quick and easy to do this, so you won’t trade in that precious planning time either!

Editable options make color-by-code activities super versatile since they grow WITH your students. Once they’ve mastered what’s on the pre-made pages, the learning doesn’t stop there! Simply fill in the pages with another skill or “the next step up” from what you’ve been working on. This fabulous feature leads me to my first benefit of using color by code in literacy centers – differentiation.

Benefits of Color by Code

1. Color by Code Makes Differentiation Simple

As I mentioned, with color by code, you have a LOT of options. One of the best ways to use this to your advantage is by differentiating activities in your literacy centers and small groups. Doing this helps tailor your lessons to fit your students’ skill levels and make sure everyone is getting exactly what they need. In my book, this is one of the best benefits of color by code activities.

Color by code activities are perfect for differentiation because you can give specific skills practice to groups of students or individual students for targeted practice. This is one of the biggest benefits of color by code activities.

For example, if you’re using the pre-made pages, you can assign uppercase letters to a specific group, while others are working on lowercase, and a third group is using worksheets with a mix of both. This allows each group to focus on the skill they are ready for, without spending a ton of time prepping materials.

My favorite way to do this is to end our small group teaching time by giving them the color by code activity. Right before we switch off, I hand my students the worksheet that aligns with what they need to focus on. Students know that their next center rotation is to complete this page.

This allows for some discretion among students. What I mean by this, is that none of the other kiddos (aside from the ones in the same group) see which worksheet each group gets. This helps put the comparison game to a stop! If you’ve taught in the primary classroom, you know this starts happening at such a young age. This method of handing off the worksheet really helps to cut down on that!

Aside from the pre-made pages, the editable options make differentiation opportunities ENDLESS! Use those editable pages to customize your color by code activities. Editable options are perfect to introduce new sight words, vocabulary words, word-wall words, word families, and MORE!

2. Color by Code is a No-Prep Hero!

Teaching in the primary classroom involves lots of hands-on learning activities and centers. This is SO important for our young students as they grow their fine motor skills and develop hand strength. While activities with tactile materials are crucial for learning in the early years, they also take a fair bit of time to prep. Am I right?!

Using color by code activities like these as part of your thematic units means it's one less thing you will have to worry about prepping.

While I’m certainly not advising against using them, I’ve discovered it truly needs to be a balancing act. Unless we have endless prep time (doesn’t that sound dreamy?), it’s probably best to strike a balance in our lesson planning. To do this, I love to use a mixture of hands-on, thematic learning activities and no-prep printables during literacy centers. This allows for some variety in what the children are working on and helps to lighten the prep load.

Color by code is the perfect way to review letters, sight words, phonics focus words, and more, without adding work to your plate. Just choose your skill, fill in the editable pages, print, and go! It’s such a relief to know you have at least one literacy center covered each week that students will love.

3. Color by Code Boosts Engagement and Focus

Speaking of students, let’s chat about my favorite benefits of color by code activities.

As teachers, we all know that engagement is the key to making learning material stick. If kiddos seem uninterested, or “checked out”, you can bet they won’t be able to retain what they’ve learned.

Over the years, I’ve discovered the way to avoid this is by allowing for opportunities to refocus often.

For example, when you’re working on in-depth reading practice with your small group, it requires a lot of focus.

Students are working hard during this time to soak up the lesson and follow directions while under your watchful eye. Small groups are SO important for growth in reading, but if we did intensive work like this all day long, the efficacy would decrease.

The Solution: Balance Out Your Lessons

These more intensive learning sessions must be balanced with fun, hands-on learning centers, crafts, movement, and opportunities to refocus.

One of my favorite activities to assign after a small group is color by code! I mentioned this above as a way to avoid comparison, but it also really helps my kiddos take a “brain break” after our session.

And while YES, they are definitely still learning and reviewing important skills, color by code is presented in a way that feels more like a treat for young students, and less like work!

This is so helpful in creating a balanced lesson plan for our literacy centers. Some of the activities are a bit more focused on actively learning new skills, while other activities help review and reset. Aside from literacy centers, color by code is a GREAT activity to help your students refocus after recess or special events, too! It requires enough brain power to capture their attention again, but the act of coloring the page is also relaxing and calming as well.

Try a Free Color by Code Activity

So, are you ready to give it a go? If so, I’ve got an exclusive freebie for you!

Grab this FREE Color by Code Resource that’s perfect for engaging your literacy centers!

This freebie can be used all year long as you work through the natural scope and sequence of learning.

The fall pages cover letters, while the winter pages move on to sight words, and we finish out the year with word families. There is also a summer section included for review! Grab the freebie and get started with color by code in your literacy centers today.

And if you’re looking for even more fun color by code activities to try in your literacy centers, check out all the options in my shop!

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